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Data from: The effect of external flow on the feeding currents of sessile microorganisms


Pepper, Rachel (2021), Data from: The effect of external flow on the feeding currents of sessile microorganisms, Dryad, Dataset,


Microscopic sessile suspension feeders live attached to surfaces and, by consuming bacteria-sized prey and by being consumed, they form an important part of aquatic ecosystems. Their environmental impact is mediated by their feeding rate, which depends on a self-generated feeding current. The feeding rate has been hypothesized to be limited by recirculating eddies that cause the  organisms to feed from water that is depleted of food particles. However, those results considered organisms in still water, while ambient flow is often present in their natural habitats. We show, using a point-force model, that even very slow ambient flow, with speed several orders of magnitude less than that of the self-generated feeding current, is sufficient to disrupt the eddies around perpendicular suspension feeders, providing a constant supply of food-rich water. However, the feeding rate decreases in external flow at a range of non-perpendicular orientations due to the formation of recirculation structures not seen in still water. We quantify the feeding flow and observe such recirculation experimentally for the suspension feeder Vorticella convallaria in external flows typical of streams and rivers.


Detailed methods are in "The effect of external flow on the feeding currents of sessile microorganisms." Included in this dataset are Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) flow fields for Vorticella convallaria in controlled external flow.  Also included are figures showing the correspondence between these measured flow fields and a simple point-force model.

Usage Notes

A summary of the data and instructions on usage is in the READ_ME.pdf.


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1755326

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1655318

Adolph C. and Mary Sprague Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science, University of California Berkeley

Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond, Award: 7014-00033B

H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Award: 713683